World View: United Nations Approves Military Intervention in Mali

This morning's key headlines from

  • The Chinese prepare for the end of the world on Friday (today)
  • United Nations approves military intervention in Mali
  • Interest rate fixing probe expands into Asia

The Chinese prepare for the end of the world on Friday (today)

Liu Qiyuan and his 'tsunami survival pod' in China's Hebei province
Liu Qiyuan and his 'tsunami survival pod' in China's Hebei province

Many people around the world believe that the world is coming to an end on Friday, thanks to an ancient Mayan calendar and to thousands of doomsday web sites. According to polls, 20% of the population believe this in China, whereas 22% believing it in the United States. 

The Chinese have been panic-buying candles and other supplies because of rumors that the doomsday will begin with total darkness. (It's not clear to me why you need candles if the world is going to end.) China has arrested over 450 people for spreading rumors about the imminent apocalypse. 

One Chinese entrepreneur, Liu Qiyuan, a former furniture-maker, now builds "survival pods," with a capacity of 14 people each, to survive 100-foot high tsunamis. However, Master Yancan, a Buddhist abbot in Cangzhou, says, "I suggest we nominate December 21 as World Humor Day to commemorate the humor of the Mayans. Why bother to believe rumors such as this? Just enjoy your life." Al-Jazeera

United Nations approves military intervention in Mali

The United Nations Security Council has authorized military intervention in Mali. They aim to recapture the northern 2/3rds of the country, which has fallen into the hands of several terrorist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). 

UNSC members voted unanimously on Thursday to approve the resolution to restore peace and protect human rights in Mali. The resolution passed on pressure from France, which fears that if AQIM establishes a firm stronghold in northern Mali, it will be used as a base to launch terrorist attacks on Algeria and Europe, particularly France. 

However, most UNSC members really aren't too anxious to endorse military action in Mali, and so the resolution sets no time frame and no implementation plan, except a vague expectation that the troops will be provided by ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States.


Interest rate fixing probe expands into Asia

As we reported yesterday, the Department of Justice has brought charges against the Japanese subsidiary of the Swiss bank UBS AG for falsely influencing international interest rates (Libor) in order to defraud investors. The UBS charges have served as a wake-up call to investigative agencies in several Asian companies, including the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Japan’s Financial Services Agency. 

These agencies are opening a probe into Asian subsidiaries of other European banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Barclays, UBS, Deutsche Bank AG, and Rabobank Groep. According to one analyst, Asian prosecuters are more willing to send crooked bankers to jail, unlike Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department; the White House has refused to investigate and send bankers to jail, even in the face of massive evidence of criminal fraud, presumably because these bankers contribute a lot of campaign money to President Obama. 

After all these years, not a single American bank employee has been jailed for the financial crisis, despite absolute proof that fraud was committed. In today's America, respectable people are gangsters, and gangsters are treated as respectable people. Bloomberg 

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Liu Qiyuan, U.N. Security Council, Mali, ECOWAS, Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Japan's Financial Services Agency, Eric Holder  

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